QUESTION: Corporations engaged in manufacture of nuclear weaponry

question / pregunta: 

Takoma Park MD is a nuclear free zone, by ordinance. I'm a member of the NFTPC committee that reports on these issues to the city council. The text of the ordinance calls (in part) for city contracts to be ineligible if made with nuclear weapon manufacturers. [1]

Until ca. 2002, the city relied on an apparently-now-defunct nonprofit in Baltimore called "Nuclear Free America" for a publication called "Prime Nuclear Weapons Contractors: U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy Broad Nuclear Definition - Fiscal Year 2002 With Parent Company/Prime Contractor Cross References." [2] The document has not been released in some time, and tracking down the folks responsible has not been all that useful (although we know who they are and have been in contact). [3]

So here's the question: are there publicly-available resources for researching, on a case-by-case basis, the ties of corporations to manufacture and maintenance of nuclear weaponry? Seems like a good business library should provide the relevant information. We'd want to track known subsidiaries to parent companies, and cross-reference that list to a list of companies known to be in the business of contracting with DOD and DOE on nuclear weapons-related work. For example, a question has come up about "3M."

For just a little bit more about NFTPC you can check out our new-and-not-very-active-yet blog. [4]

[1] Section 14.04.060. See: http://takomaparkmd.gov/code/html/_DATA/TITLE14/Chapter_14_04_NUCLEAR_FREE_ZON.html
[2] For the front matter from the most recent publication, see: http://www.takomaparkmd.gov/clerk/agenda/items/2005/022805-4a.pdf
[3] Richard Torgerson is current, or perhaps immediate-past president of NFA. See his bio here: http://www.progressive-asset.com/who/team.html
[4] http://nftpc.blogspot.com/

Answers


Answer posted by:
jim miller

One possibility is the EDGAR database in the Securities & Exchange Commission website. Its Advanced search gets 139 hits for the search: westinghouse AND nuclear (you have to put Boolean operators in all caps). The search: "china valves" AND nuclear, limiting to dates 09/01/2008 to 12/30/2008, gets 6 hits. Once you open one of these (frequently long) filings, you can use CTRL-F to find where "nuclear" is on the page. You would also want to try other words, such as fission, uranium, maybe even "pressure vessels", etc. But Edgar is a fairly crude search, and its "automatic" word stemming gets very unsatisfactory results if you try to search "containment", for example. The search: 3m AND "nuclear weapons" gets nothing related, in the past 4 years.

If you are near a large academic library, such as University of Maryland, or even some not so large community college ones, it would be wise to search Ebsco's Business Source, and newspaper full text databases such as Lexis Academic which offer "proximity search". At University of Maryland College Park, we subscribe to Business Source Complete, which gets 7 hits for: Exxon and "nuclear power". But even though the Ebsco default is title, subject words and abstracts only, these 7 hits find nuclear power apparently not related to Exxon. If you "select a field" TX-All Text, the search: exxon w5 "nuclear power" (Exxon within 5 words of the phrase "nuclear power") gets 4 hits, and CTRL-F in the HTML full text quickly finds the terms under separate companies, though very close together in a list.

Compare Factiva (at very large libraries), which gets 7 hits for: exxon w/5 "nuclear power" (note slight difference: w/5 instead of w5) in "All available dates". Factiva defaults to full text search, and is an excellent source of news articles. It is a major source of business information. Compare Lexis Nexis Academic, where exxon w/5 "nuclear power" gets 15 hits. You can change the display to "KWIC" to see the key words in context. The search: 3m w/15 nuclear weapons gets 8 hits, but none seem related; all but about 2 or 3 have "3m" meaning "3 million". There are quite a number of other business databases available to all who come onto campus - ones that come to mind are Business and Company Resource Center, RDS Business Suite, and Hoovers. On campus, when you click on the ResearchPort link on the Libraries home page, you do not have to login. You can click on "See all categories...", then on "Business" to find many more databases. A few databases are available only through the R.H. Smith Scool of Business Virtual Business Information Center. Their VBIC databases lists all of the Libraries' databases as well as "R.H. Smith only" databases. One very useful feature is VBIC's subject breakdown, which you may find helpful in deciding which ones to try.

Jim Miller - [email protected]